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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Felon Who Tried to Buy Gun Waives Hearing

A convicted felon who tried to buy a shotgun at the Foster Brook Walmart in April has waived his preliminary hearing in McKean County Central Court.

51-year-old Kevin Gleason of Bradford allegedly lied on the application, saying he had never been convicted of a felony when, in fact, he was convicted on burglary charges back in 1984.

Gleason is free on unsecured bail.

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Two Teen Jailed for Burglary Spree

Two teenagers are in jail, accused of burglarizing at least 11 buildings and vehicles over the past three months.

Sheriff's deputies say 17-year-old Frank Tundo and 18-year-old Benjamin Catalino, both of Silver Creek, stole a number of items in the Town of Hanover, including a rifle and a shotgun.

Catalino was already in Chautauqua County on a separate charge when deputies identified him as a suspect in these crimes. Tundo is now in jail, as well. They are each charged with felony burglary and grand larceny.

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Work Zone Speeder Sent to Jail

A man speeding through a work zone without a valid driver’s license is in Cattaraugus County Jail for those and other offenses.

34-year-old Christian Bennett of Fayetteville, NC, was stopped on Route 219 in the Town of Ashford at 1 a.m. on Wednesday, and admitted that his license was revoked in North Carolina and suspended in New York.

Deputies say when they took him into custody he became belligerent and uncooperative, and refused to give them any basic information about his identity.

In addition to the traffic violations, Bennett is charged with obstruction of governmental administration.

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Man Who Stole From Union Sentenced

A man who stole more than $6,000 from his union has been sentenced in federal court to two years’ probation and, although he must pay restitution, will not do any jail time.

46-year-old Robert Vargeson of Coudersport falsified records to hide the fact that he embezzled $6,013 from the Communication Workers of America Local 88329 while he was the union’s treasurer in 2012 and 2013.

Vargeson pleaded guilty in April.

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Wife, Husband Die One Day Apart

A Scio couple who had been married for 50 years died within one day of each other of separate illnesses.

Nathala Pitts passed away Tuesday in Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville. Her husband Milton died on Wednesday.

Mr. Pitts had worked for Miles Bradford in Bradford. He and his wife enjoyed gardening together.

A combined funeral service will be held Saturday.

You can find their obituaries at]

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Bill on Hunting With Air-, Gas-Powered
Weapons OK'd by House Committee

HARRISBURG – Rep. Matt Gabler’s (R-Clearfield/Elk) bill that could allow for hunting with air- or gas-powered weapons in Pennsylvania has earned approval by the House Game and Fisheries Committee.

“This bill would not automatically allow these weapons to be used for hunting, but it does give the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) the option to allow them,” Gabler said. “Prevously, these weapons were considered to be inadequate for hunting. However, the technology for air- and gas-powered weapons has advanced significantly in recent years, and they now have power equal to or greater than traditional weapons currently allowed for hunting in Pennsylvania. The idea for this legislation was brought to my attention by a constituent, and I am proud to work on behalf of the citizens of Elk and Clearfield counties in advancing good ideas for our state.”

House Bill 1136 would remove a section of current law that prohibits hunting with air- or gas-powered weapons. As a result, the PGC would have the authority to regulate the use of such weapons during specific seasons or for specific species as they see fit in order to properly manage various game species.

“The positive economic impact that this legislation enables, coupled with the increased hunting opportunities for Pennsylvanians, make this an exciting proposal, and I am thankful my colleagues in the Game and Fisheries Committee saw fit to move it forward,” Gabler said.

Many states, including Virginia and neighboring Maryland, Ohio, New York, West Virginia and Delaware currently allow hunting with air-powered weapons.

The bill now goes to the full House for its consideration.

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Welfare Fraud Prevention Bill Signed into Law

HARRISBURG – Legislation to help combat welfare fraud and abuse has been passed by the Pennsylvania Legislature and signed into law by the Governor, according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25).

Scarnati explained that House Bill 993 received final passage by the House of Representatives last week and that they concurred to an amendment that was inserted into the bill by the Senate. The bill was then signed into law on Wednesday, September 24 as Act 132 of 2014.

Originally, HB 993 was introduced only to change the name of the Department of Public Welfare to the Department of Human Services (DHS). Scarnati then introduced an amendment in the Senate Appropriations Committee in July, to expand the bill to also establish a toll-free telephone number and email address for individuals to report suspected fraud and abuse of public assistance programs.

“Pennsylvania taxpayers deserve to know that their tax dollars are being invested wisely and that state funds for public assistance programs are being given to those who truly have a need,” Scarnati said. “Recent findings of welfare fraud make it clear that we needed to have a way to help prevent abuse and be sure that our state’s limited resources are being used in a responsible manner.”

Scarnati noted that his amendment clearly outlined that all credible complaints received by the tip line and email account will be investigated or referred to the Office of Inspector General for further review.

As part of the amended legislation, a business or medical facility that accepts food stamps or medical assistance as a form of payment will be required to post a sign regarding the toll free Fraud Tip Line (1-844-DHS-TIPS). Within the next 60 days, the Department of Human Services will be providing the sign on its public website for business owners, managers and providers to print as needed.

Scarnati encouraged citizens to make use of the Fraud Tip Line. “If you see an individual or business who you believe is gaming the system, report it,” Scarnati urged. “Every dollar wasted through welfare fraud is a dollar that comes from your pocket as a taxpayer.”

“Providing a means for concerned citizens to report suspected abuse of public resources is a way that we can strengthen the integrity of Pennsylvania’s public welfare system, while ensuring those with genuine need continue to receive the assistance and resources for which they are eligible,” Scarnati concluded.

Scarnati has made eliminating welfare fraud one of his top legislative priorities. He has introduced bills to ensure that illegal aliens and lottery winners are not receiving taxpayer funded benefits as well as legislation increasing the penalties for welfare fraud.

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Alleged Drunken Napper Waives Hearing

The man accused of sleeping on a table in the kitchen of a Mount Jewett restaurant while he was drunk has waived his preliminary hearing.

Police say, earlier this month, 35-year-old William Duffy of Bradford was loitering in the parking lot of the Mountain Inn on Wilcox Road in Mount Jewett until employees left. When employees called proprietor Brenda Walker about the situation, she went to the establishment, found Duffy on the table and called police.

Duffy is charged with felony criminal mischief and public drunkenness and is free on unsecured bail.

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Uni-Mart Robbery Suspects in Jail

Two suspects are in custody for the attempted robbery of the Chestnut Street Uni-Mart early Wednesday morning.

City police say 35-year-old Jennifer Tessena, who was identified using store surveillance video while going into to scope it out, turned herself in Wednesday afternoon. She identified 54-year-old James Munson as the person who tried to get the clerk to give him money. Police arrested him Wednesday night on East Main Street in Bradford.

They are both in McKean County Jail. Munson’s bail is $50,000; Tessena’s is $10,000. They are both scheduled to appear in Central Court on October 2.

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City of Bradford Police Log for 9/24/14

In addition to investigating the attempted robbery at a Uni-Mart – and arresting the suspects – City of Bradford Police on Wednesday looked into traffic-related problems on West Corydon and Williams streets and a disturbance on South Center. Officers were also called to a non-injury accident on Route 219.

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Man Jailed for Stabbing at Sheetz

A stabbing outside the Port Allegany Sheetz early Sunday morning has landed a Coudersport man in jail.

36-year-old Antwan Cunningham was arraigned Wednesday night on a number of charges, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Court records say police were called to a fight in front of Sheetz at 4:35 a.m. but, by the time they got there, the people involved were gone. Police contacted area hospitals, telling them to watch for a man needing treatment for stab wounds.

The victim showed up at Charles Cole Memorial Hospital, and had to have surgery and stitches to treat the injuries.

Cunningham is in McKean County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in Central Court on October 2.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Vandals Damage Log Skidder

Police are looking for whoever did $10,000 worth of damage at an Elk County logging site.

They say sometime between September 15 and this morning someone went to the site just off Kyler Road in Fox Township and poured an unknown substance into the fuel tank of a 1999 Timber Jack log skidder.

Anyone with information on this incident should contact Ridgway-based state police.

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Townships Applaud Senate on Passage of
Right-to-Know Amendments; Urge House Action

David Sanko, executive director of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors, has released the following statement in response to the Pennsylvania Senate’s unanimous passage of Senate Bill 444, which would amend the state’s Right-to-know Law:

“Townships across Pennsylvania applaud our state senators for their unanimous passage of Senate Bill 444. This bill would amend the commonwealth’s Right-to-Know Law to maintain government transparency while addressing provisions that proved costly for local governments without adding value for residents.

“We also applaud Sen. Dominic Pileggi, the bill’s prime sponsor, for his determination to address the unintended consequences that arose from this law. Now, we urge members of the House to pass this bill quickly and send it to the governor’s desk for a signature. The result will be a continued commitment to openness and transparency and increased efficiency in responding to open records requests.”

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Bradford Library Hires Office Manager

Bradford Area Public Library has hired Heather Carlson of Smethport as Office Manager.

The library received 14 letters of interests for the position. The Human Resource committee, along with the guidance of executive director, Lacey Love, narrowed the field to three candidates to interview.

“We had a very diverse group of applicants. Those chosen for interviews represented different skill sets that provided Lacey an opportunity to select the most appropriate candidate to assist her in the operations of the library.” stated Chris Minich, Chairwoman of Bradford Area Public Library Board of Trustees.

Carlson was most recently employed by Zippo Manufacturing Company, after returning to the Bradford area in 2011. She aspires to serve a non-profit organization as a leader in management. She looks forward to advancing the operations of the library so it continues to be a valuable resource in the Bradford community. She lives in Rew with her husband Terry Carlson.

Love commented, “I'm so excited to start working with Heather. Her passion for non-profit work will be a huge asset to the Bradford Area Public Library. Together, along with the current staff and volunteers, we'll be able to make some great changes in the library, and provide the Bradford community with high-quality resources and programming.”

“I have been given the honor to work with such a great non-profit organization. The Bradford Area Public Library has done so much within our community. Just as the vision reads, this great staff, Board of Trustees and the volunteers have strived to make this a premier library in service to our community, however; with the fresh new faces, I am excited to be a part of taking this to the next level," Carlson said.

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Man Accused of Causing Crash is
Headed to McKean County Court

Charges against a man who grabbed a car’s steering wheel while another person was driving, causing a the car to hit a tree on South Avenue in Lewis Run have been bound to McKean County Court.

26-year-old Matthew Kline of Bradford was in an argument with 29-year-old Erica Lapp of Cyclone back in April when Kline allegedly grabbed the wheel, causing Lapp to lose control of the car. The car then traveled across both lanes of traffic, left the road and hit the tree.

Kline and Lapp both had to be flown to out of town hospitals following the crash.

He is charged with simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and careless driving.

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Accused Kidnapper, Assailant Facing New Charges

The man in jail for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman in Kane last month is now charged for calling her from the jail dozens of times over the last four days.

Police say 38-year-old William Pearce of Glen Campbell, PA, called the 43-year-old Brookville woman more than 50 times between Sunday and today.

Pearce is now charged with stalking, intimidation of witnesses or victims and harassment in addition to the original charges of aggravated assault, aggravated indecent assault, kidnapping and terroristic threats, which were bound to McKean County Court on Monday.

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PSP: More Frein Sightings, Evidence of Presence

Read more here.

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Medical Cannabis Bill OK'd by Senate

The Pennsylvania State Senate has voted 43-7 in favor of a bill that would legalize some forms of cannabis for medical purposes.

The bill now goes on to the State House, where it is expected to meet some resistance.

Democratic Senator Daylin Leach, co-sponsor of the bill, thanked Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati and Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, who control the Senate calendar.

"The path of least resistance is always not to run something controversial ... put it on the back burner," Leach said. "It took a lot of courage and a lot of push back among people in their own party to run this bill. The people who have family members who are suffering should remember the very important role they played in moving this bill forward."

We'll have more on this story later this afternoon.

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Penn State, GE Team Up for Innovation Center

(news release from Penn State) UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- GE announced that it will invest up to $10 million in Penn State to establish a new innovation center focused on driving cutting-edge advancements in the natural gas industry. The Center for Collaborative Research on Intelligent Natural Gas Supply Systems at Penn State (CCRINGSS) will engage Penn State researchers and students from many disciplines in collaborative work with various industry stakeholders. The center will seek to advance efficiency and environmental sustainability both through technological innovations and improved supply chain management.

“Natural gas is extremely important as a domestic energy source for the United States and continues to serve as a crucial element in revitalizing Pennsylvania’s economy,” said U.S. Congressman Glenn Thompson. “I fully support the work that Penn State and GE will be doing through CCRINGSS to support new research innovations and create real-world applications that will build upon existing partnerships led by the University to make a positive impact on the industry and the communities of Pennsylvania.”

Thompson will speak at a luncheon today, during which Penn State President Eric Barron will outline the creation of the center. GE Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Mark Little, other representatives from GE, and several members of Penn State’s academic leadership also are scheduled to attend.

“We are excited to announce the creation of this new center,” said Penn State President Eric Barron. “CCRINGSS will pull together Penn State’s expertise in natural-gas-related technologies, data analytics, and supply chain management. By gaining a deep understanding of the complex shale gas supply chain and by creating new technologies, the center will aim to produce tangible benefits to the natural gas industry as well as the communities impacted by that industry, from the points of extraction right through to the energy that reaches consumers.”

“The growth of the natural gas industry will be driven by technologies and a future workforce that can navigate and access tougher-to-reach resources in cleaner, better ways,” said Little. “CCRINGSS will provide a bridge to both for the oil and gas industry, creating a pipeline of promising research development and engineering talent with the skills and imagination to produce results.”

The new center will combine the expertise of faculty across four Penn State colleges -- the Smeal College of Business and the colleges of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Engineering, and Information Sciences and Technology -- and multiple centers and institutes, including the Center for Supply Chain Research (CSCR) and the Institute for Natural Gas Research (INGaR).

GE’s investment will support a range of initiatives, including center-aligned research projects, acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment, and undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral fellowships. Through CCRINGSS, GE’s support also will create new educational and outreach programs, such as a graduate certificate program that would link supply chain and data analytics with technical aspects of the energy industry.

GE will help shape the initial direction of research and programs within the center through co-designed workshops and showcases, a web-based collaboration interface, project proposal evaluation, engineers in residence, technical and managerial collaborations, student and faculty internships, and industry-specific career fairs.

Central to CCRINGSS’ vision will be the collaboration of researchers in technical areas of chemical, petroleum and materials engineering with those in the fields of supply chain management, data analytics and decision making.

“This kind of interdisciplinary collaboration can potentially lead to a more seamless integration of the technologies into the natural gas infrastructure,” Barron said. “Penn State students will be involved in much of this activity, interacting with industry professionals and faculty members through real-world projects that will help make them well-prepared and highly sought-after graduates.”

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Crack, Suspected Heroin Found During Search

Crack cocaine, suspected heroin and marijuana were found during a raid of a Town of Great Valley home last night.

35-year-old Carl Simons of Great Valley and 32-yea-rold Raymond Jemison of Buffalo are now charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell. They are in Cattaraugus County Jail on $7,500 bail each.

The Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force and Seneca Nation Marshals found six grams of crack along with the other drugs.

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Pair Gets Conditional Discharge

Two men who tried to hide from police in a car wash after trying to burglarize a house won’t be doing any jail time following their sentencing in Cattaraugus County Court.

21-year-old Brett Barth and 24-year-old Shawn Pavia were spotted at the Olean car wash while police were searching for the suspects in a burglary in the Town of Allegany.

The pair was sentenced to conditional discharge. Pavia must also do 50 hours of community service.

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Bradford Synagogue Celebrates Anniversary

Temple Beth El will hold its 135th High Holiday celebrations beginning with Rosh Hashanah (New Year) this evening.

They will be celebrating the 135th anniversary of Bradford's Hebrew Congregation, now Temple Beth El. Rabbi Susan Stone will lead the services and all are invited to attend. The evening service for Rosh Hashanah (Erev Rosh Hashanah) will begin at 7:30 p.m. and be followed by an apples-and-honey reception in the social hall.

At 10 a.m. tomorrow, the Rosh Hashanah morning service will be held. Both services will be at Temple Beth El, 146 Clarence Street.

Following the morning service there will be Tashlich, a service of forgiveness, at the Willow Dale Duck Pond around noon. At 1:00pm, Rabbi Stone will lead a walk and memorial service at the Beth Israel Cemetery on West Washington St.

Yom Kippur, the Day of Attonement, a day of fasting, will begin with a service at 7:30 p.m. at the Temple on Friday, October 3rd. This service is usually called Kol Nidre after its song about vows. The Rabbi's son, Charles, will sing Kol Nidre. On the next day, Saturday, October 4th, there will be a morning service, starting at 10:00am followed by three afternoon services in succession, afternoon, Yizkor and closing, beginning at 4:00pm. At about 5:30 PM, following the last service, breakfast (the breaking of the fast) will be served as a potluck supper in the social hall.

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Early Morning Police Chase on Route 6

A driver took police on a chase on Route 6 at speeds over 100 mph early this morning.

Troopers say the chase started at about 3:50 a.m. near the intersection with Route 449 in Potter County when they tried to stop a vehicle that was going 97 in a 55 mph zone. The vehicle sped up to more than 100, and the pursuit went for 12.3 miles until the vehicle went out of control near the intersection with Route 349 in the Village of Gaines.

The vehicle hit two SUVs parked in front of Gaines Garage, ran over road signs and hit a tree, rolled onto its roof and then slid for about 30 yards before stopping.

The driver, 22-year-old Sheldon Robinson of Schwenksville, and one passenger, 18-year-old Lyndsey Eckman of Schwenksville, were taken by Galeton ambulance to Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hospital in Wellsboro. Robinson was later taken to Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre. They have both been released.

Goodyear Hose Company of Galeton provided assistance and traffic control.

A second passenger, 22-year-old Eric Newman of Schwenksville, ran from police after the crash and has not been found yet. Police are continuing their investigation and say charges are forthcoming.

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Northwest Savings Donates to United Way

Northwest Savings Bank recently gave $7,500 to the United Way of the Bradford Area.

The donation will be added to the United Way’s funds, which are distributed to local community organizations for the purpose of community building and enhancing the quality of life in the greater Bradford area. Twenty-nine agencies and 51 programs and services receive funding from the organization’s annual appeal, which runs from August 15 through December 15. This year’s goal is to raise $345,000.

In presenting the donation, Steve Cottillion, manager of the Bradford West Washington Street Office of Northwest Savings Bank and member of the Board of Directors of the United Way of the Bradford Area, said, “We (Northwest) recognize the importance of supporting the United Way because it helps to build a stronger community. It’s a great way to support our town and give back because everyone in the Bradford area has benefited in some way from United Way funds. We’re honored to be able to support the United Way in its work.”

Mandi Wilton Davis, executive director of the United Way of the Bradford Area, accepted the donation.

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Man Sent to Prison for Stabbing

A man who stabbed and critically injured another man in an Olean apartment last winter will spend 1 to 3 in state prison.

20-year-old Devon Blanchard stabbed 24-year-old Stacey Spencer Jr. of Olean in the stomach while they were at a friend’s apartment. Police said Spencer was bleeding heavily when they arrived. He was taken by Mercy Flight to ECMC in Buffalo for treatment.

Blanchard was also sentenced to 3 ½ years on a burglary charge.

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Former Pediatric Nurse in Olean
Sent to State Prison on Child Porn Charges

The former pediatric nurse who was found with hundreds of images of child pornography on his home computer has been sentenced to 7 ½ years in state prison.

47-year-old Willie Reid was a nurse at Olean General Hospital when he was picked up in a nationwide sting operation last year. When his computer was seized in May of 2013 he had more than 600 images and videos of children involved in sex acts, some younger than 12. Some of the acts depicted violence as well.

Reid, who had worked at Olean General since 2000, was suspended from his job after charges were filed.

OGH Nurse Accused of Distributing Child Porn -- May 2013

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Attempted Robbery at Chestnut Street Store

Someone tried to rob the Chestnut Street Uni-Mart at about 1:40 this morning.

City police say an unarmed man went into the store and asked for cash from the cash register.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact City of Bradford Police or use the anonymous tip line.

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